Dazzle Them With Dragonflies
Updated: Apr. 15, 2022
Let your imagination take off… copper wire and beads give this fun project wings
This project, which captures the delicacy and color of dragonflies in a simple garden ornament, is a real attention-grabber.
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These Dragonflies Make Beautiful Garden Ornaments
Children may enjoy making these fun dragonflies or bugs, so it’s a great DIY project to do on a rainy day. Remember to test your beads first…not all beads you may want to use will fit onto the wings’ twisty wires. The dragonflies really come to life when you put the eyes on. Once you’re finished, poke them into your garden and stand back to admire them.
Cut copper tubing to 4 in. with a tubing cutter or hacksaw. Make slight indentations in the copper at the hole locations (Figure A, in Project PDFs below), using an awl or sharp drywall screw so the drill bit doesn’t slip off when you begin drilling.
1. Cut the Copper Tube and Drill Holes
Cut a 3-ft. length of 1/16-in. brass rod in half and clean the rods and the body tube with steel wool. Push both rods through the middle holes, center them and solder (Photo with step 1). Center the wing wires and solder to the underbelly. Apply just enough heat to melt the solder. Touch the solder to the heated metal, not the flame – a drop of solder is all that’s needed.
Drill holes for the wings and eyes with the 1/16-in. bit. Drill a 1/8-in. hole in the bottom for the support rod. Drill the eye holes from both sides rather than straight through so the eyes will be aligned.
2. Shape the Dragonflies Wings
Make a jig to form the wings on a scrap piece of 3/4-in. wood. Drill holes, then glue and insert dowels. Mark the center, placing the body of the dragonfly between the two dowels, then bend one rod around the dowels for wings. Trim the ends so that they meet back in the center of the dragonfly, insert them into the proper holes and solder in place.
3. Thread the Beads Onto the Wings and Wrap Copper Wire
Wrap about 24 in. of 20-gauge copper wire around the 3/8-in. copper tubing, then stretch it out and cut it in half. Twist one end around the tip of a wing and solder it. Thread the glass beads on, then attach the other end and solder or superglue the wire where it crosses the body. Glue the beads in place.
Insert a 6-in. length of 20-gauge wire through the eye holes. Slide two eye beads on, cross the wires and wrap them once around the body. Bend excess wire into legs and solder the wire at the bottom. Attach the spring into the back end of the dragonfly with superglue or quick-setting epoxy. If you can’t find this size spring, make your own by coiling 20-gauge copper wire around a 1/4-in. machine bolt.
Solder the 1/8-in. brass rod in the hole on the bottom side of the body. Push the rod into the ground and watch your dragonfly hover all year long.
Another Saturday, another chance to do something fun with your child. Try a project that doesn’t require hard work, complicated tools or 1,000 steps. Here are 14 super fun DIY projects to do with kids, rain or shine.
Click the links below to download the construction drawings, shopping list as well as the tools list for this project.
Shopping and Tools List
Originally Published: April 04, 2018